World, Middle East

UN council opposes Israeli occupation of Golan Heights

UN Human Rights Council calls on Israel to comply with UN resolutions

Bayram Altug   | 22.03.2019
UN council opposes Israeli occupation of Golan Heights

GENEVA 

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday passed a resolution opposing the Israeli occupation of Golan Heights and urging Israel to comply with the UN resolutions.  

The resolution was accepted by 26 votes in favor, 16 against and 5 abstentions.

This came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said “it was time for the U.S. to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights”.

Israel has long pushed Washington to recognize its claim over the territory it seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupies roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights as a de facto result of the conflict. It moved to formally annex the territory in 1981 -- an action unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

Today’s resolution called on Israel to allow Syrians in the occupied Golan Heights to visit their families, access of international institutions to the region and release all Syrian detainees, including those who have been held in Israeli jails for 30 years.

Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Spain, Togo, Ukraine and the U.K. voted against the resolution.

Notably, the U.S. State Department last week officially referred to the Golan Heights as an “Israeli-controlled” territory. Previously, it had consistently referred to the region as “Israeli-occupied”.

Last November, the U.S. -- for the first time -- voted against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel's continued occupation of the Golan. In all, 151 nations voted in support, with just Israel and the U.S. voting against. 

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur and Beyza Binnur Donmez

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